Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's All About the Content

When we had web manager meetings at HUD, we tried to take the web managers out into the local community to see – first-hand – how HUD touches communities. At one outing, we were visiting a hospital that had been converted into senior citizen apartments, in Harlem. Our guide took us down to the basement, where they’d set up a computer lab. He said that residents were having a ball, scanning in their family photos and emailing them all over the country. That prompted our question: do low income folks in this area have internet access? Is that a problem? His answer surprised us. He said that internet access isn’t the problem. Between libraries, schools, community centers, and other public venues, they have access. “The problem,” he said, “is what they find when they get on the web. It’s the content. It’s not written in terms they understand, it’s not organized in ways that makes sense to them, and it’s too flashy and glitzy. That’s why they don’t use the internet.”

It’s all about the content, folks.

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